Child abuse is a serious offense, which though may have long-run negative effects on children’s health. Even when they grow up, they may suffer serious health problems. However, often negative effects of child abuse remain underestimated and even when the child abuse case is identified, the victim or victims do not receive the proper treatment to the full extent. For instance, they may receive the treatment that focuses on the immediate effects of child abuse, but fails to take into consideration long-run effects of child abuse. As a result, patients suffering child abuse accumulate different health problems and psychological problems which affect consistently their life in adulthood. In such a situation, the effective treatment of patients suffering child abuse is just a partial solution to the problem of child abuse. The main point of contemporary policies should aim at the prevention of child abuse and the provision of victims of child abuse with health care and social services in both short-run and long-run perspectives. The development of preventive strategies and the implementation of preventive policies can be very helpful in terms of the minimization of negative effects of child abuse on patients’ health and life, while the prevention of child abuse and its negative effects should involve not only health care professionals but also social workers, family members, and community members.
Description of the problem
In actuality, the problem of child abuse is still widely-spread. In spite of numerous efforts of law enforcement agencies, legislators and policy makers to introduce effective measures to prevent child abuse, cases of child abuse still occur. Therefore, current efforts to prevent child abuse are not enough and more efforts should be undertaken to overcome this problem. In this regard mutual efforts of health care professionals, policy makers, educators, social workers, community and family of children are essential. The main reason for the prevention of child abuse is traditionally the violation of children’s rights. However, along with the violation of children’s rights, child abuse leads to dangerous health effects. At any rate, child abuse affects consistently the physical health of children, their psychological condition and mental health and may provoke the development of serious health problems not only in a short-run but also in a long-run perspective.
One of possible effect of child abuse is shaken baby syndrome. In actuality, shaking a baby is a common form of child abuse. Even though injuries caused by shaking a baby may be not immediately noticeable but they may lead to negative effects on children health. In fact, shaking a baby may provoke bleeding in the eye or brain, damage to the spinal cord and neck, and rib or bone fractures (Freeman, 1999). In such a way, shaking a baby is quite dangerous for children’s health and may lead to injuries of a baby. Nevertheless, cases of shaking a baby are still quite frequent.
Another problem that may result from child abuse is the impaired brain development. In fact, child abuse, especially physical one, may cause important regions of the brain to fail to form or to grow properly (Shinn, et al., 1991). As a result, children suffer from the impaired brain development. The impaired brain development may have long-run negative effects affecting the cognitive development of children, the development of their language skills, and academic abilities (Blood, 1995).
The poor physical health may be also the result of child abuse. Some studies (Thompson, et al., 1997) have revealed the close relationships between various forms of household dysfunctions, including child abuse, and poor health. In this regard, researchers (Gauthier, et al., 1996) argue that child abuse may lead to negative long-run effects and result in the development of such diseases as arthritis, asthma, allergies, ulcers, bronchitis, high blood pressure, and other health problems, which may start manifesting themselves in the adulthood (Lyons-Ruth & Jacobvitz, 1999).
Psychological problems and poor mental and emotional health can also be the result of child abuse. Children suffering from abuse often develop serious psychological problems which can manifest themselves in short-run as well as long-run perspectives. For instance, child abuse can cause severe depression in children which may occur not only in childhood but also in the adulthood.